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A few highlights from day one of the CIBSE ASHRAE Technical Symposium 2023
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A few highlights from day one of the CIBSE ASHRAE Technical Symposium 2023

20 Apr 23

Kevin Mitchell, CIBSE President kicked off day one of the 2023 CIBSE ASHRAE Technical Symposium in Glasgow. Kevin welcomed attendees to the sold-out event, and expressed his excitement about this year’s programme, bringing together a diverse group of industry experts and academics to share their knowledge and expertise on the latest developments in building services engineering.

Held at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, day one featured a packed programme of presentations, panel discussions, and networking, all focused on the theme of "Delivering Safe, Sustainable, and Healthy Buildings for a Net Zero Future."

Following Kevin’s introduction, the day began with a keynote address by Casey Cole, co-founder of Guru Systems Ltd. with his presentation, Digitalising heat network commissioning: Using Apps to deliver well performing heat networks. To meet carbon targets cost effectively, the UK must increase the proportion of heat delivered by heat networks from around 2.5%, where it stands today, to at least 20% by 2050. Casey presented a case study focused on three heat networks in London, where digital tools were used to support the heat network commissioning process, demonstrating how proper commissioning resulted in well performing heat networks ahead of residents moving in.

Other notable presentations included District heat networks in London: A review of the current status, potential, barriers and opportunities, presented by Aya Heggy, LSBU Global. The paper looks at challenges to the growth of low-carbon heat networks in the UK, specifically around a lack of clarity when categorising them as communal or district as these systems have varied merits and peculiarities that affect their potential as scalable tools for decarbonisation. The team at LSBU aim to tackle this by proposing new definitions that clearly separate the two concepts by analysing the status of heat networks in the UK and London, complemented by a review of current definitions available in the literature.

As part of a session focusing on assuring effective indoor air quality, Giobertti Morantes from the University of Nottingham presented his paper, A Harm Budget Approach to Indoor Air Quality Acceptability, based on research which used the Disability Adjusted Life Year (DALY) metric to quantify and rank the harm from exposure to airborne contaminants in dwellings. The DALY metric was used to estimate harm caused by specific contaminants and determine an acceptable harm budget. The intention is to enable policy makers to use the harm budget approach to establish acceptable levels of harm in regulatory contexts and health policies.

As always, lunch was accompanied by lively discussion and debate, as attendees reflected on the morning. Speaking with one CIBSE member, they were encouraged by presentations prioritising operational carbon emissions. Acknowledging the importance and role of embodied carbon calculations and the potential to reduce emissions, they felt that the focus must be on ensuring that buildings are operating as designed and not missing the low hanging fruit, in terms of commissioning buildings correctly to ensure that they are performing as intended.

After lunch, Annie Marston Ph.D, LEED AP from REsustain presented, A comparison of forecast energy reduction through control optimisation in an existing building with actual data from the optimised building. The case study supports the case for recommissioning buildings before retrofit, ensuring the controls in the building are fully optimised. The study looked at control optimisation in a building, comparing the theoretical exercise with actual data for the buildings after the control strategies had been implemented. The energy usage in existing building stock can be significantly improved by understanding the HVAC and controls and using these details to build the energy model. This is without adding any additional carbon into the building through retrofit.

Considering opportunities and standards for heat networks, Nikzad Falahati from FairHeat presented, Heat network optimisation opportunities: Key outcomes from an assessment of existing heat networks. Following analysis of 32 operational heat networks in the UK, potential interventions to optimise the networks were determined, based on data from on-site observation. Work packages composed of the interventions were developed for each site, representing works that are carried out together to optimise the heat network and could then be classified as ‘easy wins’ or ‘major works.’ The ‘easy wins’ included straightforward interventions which led to significant optimisation, rather than the more involved interventions to the network classified as ‘major works.’ Following the proposed optimisation works, the modelled mean average reduction in network heat loss was 33-52% for each dwelling. The decrease in heat losses and pump energy consumption led to an average energy cost saving of £254-£392 and helped to prevent 370-650kg of carbon emissions per dwelling per year.

Today's presentations emphasised the importance of collaboration and knowledge sharing in achieving a net-zero future and provided valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities faced by the industry. The presentations and panel discussions covered a diverse range of topics, including heat network commissioning, district heat networks, indoor air quality, and building optimisation. As we prepare to make our way over to Glasgow City Council Chambers for this evening’s civic reception, there is an air of optimism and excitement. Attendees will be joined by members of the CIBSE Scotland regional committee and the CIBSE Scotland Young Engineers Network for an evening of networking and discussion. Glasgow City Chambers will be hosting the event, and providing drinks, and food is being provided by Mason UK Ltd.

This year’s CIBSE ASHRAE Technical Symposium is supported by Gold Sponsors, ELCO Heating Solutions, Hamworthy Heating Ltd, and Swegon Group, along with Silver Sponsors, ADEY, Klima-Therm, and IES Ltd., along with Bronze Sponsor, Vexo International.

Find out more about the CIBSE ASHRAE Technical Symposium and see the full programme and speaker list

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